So I am trying to blog now when we take breaks because the hostel we are staying at has 24 hour free internet - woot!
Today was all about "Old Rome". We woke up early and after a deliciously light breakfast at our hostel we walked over to the Coloseum. I love the Coloseum, it is so beautiful and awe-inspiring when you see it in person. We bypassed the line with our great Roma Pass tickets and got an audio guide to give us some insight on the Coloseum. I have to say the audioguide was definitely worth it, learning about the history of the Coloseum while standing in it was pretty remarkable. It was one of my favorite parts of the day.
After the Coloseum we walked over to The Forum. Our Rick Steves book (sorry I cannot figure out the apostrophe key on this computer so bare with me!) gave a great overview of the Forum and brief histories on many of the ruins. Again, awe-inspiring is the word to describe. To just imagine the Forum at its height - well I cannot even imagine. Jon and I were talking today about Rome and our initial thoughts and he said if he could use one word to describe Rome he would say "magnificent". I did not remember how truly LARGE many of the structures are and they are not even fully intact most of them. After a couple of hours wondering the Forum, we found a cute little place for lunch (Panini sandwiches - my fave).
After lunch we ventured over to the Palatine Hill. This is where all of the emperors lived when Rome ruled the world. The views from up top the hill are pretty spectacular and it's just a neat place to wander (just accidentally found the apostrophe button - yay!) We agreed that if we had it to do over we would have gotten lunch to go and picnicked up there - many people were doing just that. It definitely gives you a feel for the "granduer" of Rome.
Then we headed over to the Mamertime Prison, which is where St. Peter was held prisoner before his execution. They actually still have the column he was chained to there in the prison. It was a pretty depressing place.
After that we climbed the steps to the Capitoline Museum, saw the famour foot, hand and head of the Constatine statue and other incredible pieces of sculpture. It's a beautiful museum, although museums at the end of a long day do not agree with me, I got tired pretty quick. However, from the Capitoline Museum is one of the best views of the Forum. We hit it right as the sun was setting, so we took some time and stood on the balcony and watched the sun set over The Forum, one of those "WOW" moments. It was so peaceful, as The Forum was closed so there wasn't a soul walking through it. Ahhhh.....
After that long (but amazing!) day we headed back to the hostel for a nap before heading out (I know so unlike us, but we had both run ourselves ragged prior to arriving here and new that if we didn't rest up for a little bit we wouldn't enjoy the whole trip.
For dinner we walked over to the Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome. There was a Christmas fair going on so we walked around before finding the perfect restaurant for dinner (thanks Rick Steve's). It was located right outside the Piazza Navona and we had a delightful meal there, great wine, amazing bruchetta (I'm telling you it gets better each day!), and I had gnocchi (melt in your mouth kind of gnocchi and Jon had parpadelle with Wild Boar sauce (spicy but delish!)
After dinner we headed back towards the Pantheon to go to this wine bar we had seen the night before - it is too cool to describe. Old barrels for tables, wine bottles lining the walls, really Italian (we were the only Americans in there!) We sipped our wine slowly and vowed to return before our trip was over - I can't wait!
Last but not least before the night was over - Jon stopped for a Cappuchino and I had gelato at the BEST gelato place - Giotti's! (Amy I'm not sure if you remember it from the time we were here 8 years ago?) So good...then we walked to the bus stop to catch our bus back to the hostel as the metro stops running here at 9PM (bizzare!) We learned all this last night so tonight it was smooth sailing.
Well, I'm a day behind blogging so I'll write about our adventure to the Vatican tomorrow (and boy was it an adventure!) But it's time to shower before heading out to Trastvere for dinner.